Reads: 347

He watches the sun set and counts the money again. Does it by thickness, not number. Too many bills to do any accurate math. It's his sixth haul but something about the man still makes him sweat. He has no collateral. No bargaining chip. Just a pawn.

Hours pass in the little parking lot and his hands start to shake. He'll be here any minute. Keep cool. Keep calm. Breathe.

Al grinds the gravel under his heels and shivers. His thoughts drift to Jess and what she would say, what she would think of him if she could see him now. He breathes deep. Closes his eyes and sees a blaze of disgust consume her face. The face that she had once held so close to his. Inches. Why didn't I kiss her? What he wouldn't do to see her now, to confess it all. He misses her. He always does now.

Finally, dimmed headlights penetrate the night. The big four by four hums to a stop about thirty feet off. Doors open. Al gets off the bench and starts walking over, but he still can't shake the feeling of unease. His stomach roils.

He's halfway there when the patrol car appears. For a second it looks as though they'll keep driving. Keep driving. The lights flash. The siren emits a quick vweep. He knows it's all over now. He's done.

Before Al gets a chance to throw up his hands the gun goes off. The parking lot is ignited by what could be camera flashes, if not for the stone hard cracking of air. He has just enough time to see the first officer go down before he starts to run. They're all getting out of the truck now. He can hear more shouting, more shots. The siren in the patrol car is blaring, and there's a moment of vocal standoff before the night is filled with gun smoke again. Dozens of shots. The cops are fucked, he knows. The pavement is blurring under his feet, and he doesn't stop when he feels the lead pierce his shoulder.

The commotion becomes distant, but he keeps running. His chest is burning in agony, and there are ribbons of light in his eyes when he reaches the bus stop. He's the only one on. Stumbles to a seat near the back and breathes. Fills his lungs with burning air. Fire. The vacant pain reveals itself. The leather of his jacket feels like hot iron when he wraps it tight, but it's all he has to stop the bleeding. The bus starts moving again, the driver's eyes flickering to him curiously.

He's nearly unconscious when he realizes he's still gripping the paper bag of bills in his hand. He tastes blood and falls asleep.

Submitted: November 20, 2015

© Copyright 2021 keithdaniels. All rights reserved.


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